PM thanks the public for cooperation

Younten Tshedup 

There is no case of community transmission in the capital city, Thimphu.

The 35-year-old man who tested positive for Covid-19 while in the quarantine in Thimphu on August 22 is a primary contact of one of the positive cases in Phuentsholing.

Talking to Kuensel, Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering said that the man is a resident of Phuentsholing who came into contact with a positive case in Phuentsholing.

He was on his way to Thimphu when he was contact-traced. Lyonchhen said that immediately upon his arrival, he was quarantined. “Because he was directly quarantined he might not have any contacts outside. Nonetheless, we are tracing all his primary contacts including his family members and friends.”

Unlike Paro where a contact of the two positive cases (couple) also tested positive, the case of the 35-year-old man was much clearer, he said. “Because a contact of the couple tested positive from the community, a mass testing programme was started in Paro.”

So far all those who have been tested in Paro are negative. The screening is ongoing.

Lyonchhen said that there was no risk associated with the 35-year-old man as he was already quarantined. “Which is why, for now, there is no change to our plans regarding the relaxations happening in Thimphu.”


PM thanks public

With the nationwide lockdown completing the second week today, Lyonchhen said that so far the country has been doing well.

“We are definitely doing good because the public are able to keep all their problems within themselves and the boundaries of their houses,” he said. “I know every family is suffering, they are suffocated and everyone wants to come out, yet they are cooperating. We are very grateful to all the people.”

He said that even His Majesty The King has expressed his gratitude on many occasions. The cooperation and rational thinking of the Bhutanese is a clear sign that Bhutan as a country will definitely do well in the future, he added.

“The effectiveness of the lockdown is not because of the government intervention, but because of the public awareness and willingness to follow the dos and don’ts,” said the prime minister. “I don’t think that any country would have gone through such a smooth lockdown phase for two straight weeks.”

Lyonchhen said that while there were many shortcomings, the government has improved a lot in organising logistics. He said that the calls at the grievance cell have gone down by almost 80 percent since the beginning of the lockdown on August 11.

From over 800 calls received by each station of the Thimphu Thromde (for essential delivery) in the beginning, it  has dropped to about 15 calls today.

GNHC hotlines that used to receive over 500 calls on the first day received only 56 calls yesterday.

“This is because the problems are getting resolved,” Lyonchhen said. “Now with the card system in place people can come out. It is encouraging to see people obediently queue in front of the groceries maintaining at least 2m of physical distance.”

However, Lyonchhen said that the current plans would be dependent on the situation in the country. “If the situation keeps improving the way it has for the last two weeks, going ahead will be easier,” he said. “But if suddenly the situation worsens, everything will then go back to square one. The reason why it is dependent on the situation is because we don’t see the enemy.”

Meanwhile, all the positive cases are in stable condition including the 65-year-old woman and the two child cases.